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Balleny, John (b. c. 1770, d. in or after 1842), merchant navy officer and Antarctic discoverer, was born c.1770 but nothing is known about his early life and education. He may have been a Londoner, brought up in the Newcastle coal trade. From 1798, when he was living in the parish of ...

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Best, George (c. 1555–1584), explorer, was the son of Robert Best and Anne Bowman, married at Merstham in 1548. He learned much about geography from his father who worked as an interpreter for the Muscovy Company in London, having escorted the first Russian ambassador to ...

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A. G. E. Jones

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Biscoe, John (bap. 1794, d. 1843), merchant navy officer and explorer, was baptized in Enfield on 28 June 1794, the third son and youngest child of Thomas Biscoe of Waltham Abbey and his wife, Ann Tibbs. Nothing is known of his early years, but on leaving school he became a clerk. On 11 March 1812 he volunteered for the ...

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Booth, Sir Felix, first baronet (1780–1850), distiller and promoter of Arctic exploration, was born on 3 June 1780, the youngest son of Philip Booth, a distiller of 55 Turnmill Street, Clerkenwell, London, and his wife, Elizabeth Wallis, who had in all three sons and three daughters. ...

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Borough, Stephen (1525–1584), explorer and naval administrator, was born on 25 September 1525 at Borough House, Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon, the elder son of Walter Borough (1494–1548) and Mary Dough; his younger brother was William Borough (d. 1598).

With his uncle, John Borough (d. 1570)...

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Frederick Spencer Chapman (1907–1971) by Howard Coster, 1939 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Chapman, Frederick Spencer (1907–1971), explorer and mountaineer, was born on 10 May 1907 at Kensington, London, the younger son and younger child of Frank Spencer Chapman, solicitor, of Oakwood Court, Kensington, and his wife, Winifred Ormond, who died within a month of the birth. She was the daughter of ...

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J. K. Laughton

revised by Andrew Lambert

Collinson, Sir Richard (1811–1883), naval officer and explorer, was born on 7 November 1811 at Gateshead, co. Durham, where his father, the Revd John Collinson (c.1791–1857), was rector. His mother was Amelia, née King (b. 1783), daughter of the philanthropist ...

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James Cook (1728–1779) by Nathaniel Dance, 1776 © National Maritime Museum, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection

Article

Andrew C. F. David

Cook, James (1728–1779), explorer, was born on 27 October 1728 in the village of Marton in Cleveland, North Riding of Yorkshire, the son of James Cook (1694–1779), a day labourer, and his wife, Grace Pace (1701/2–1765).

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Croft, (Noel) Andrew Cotton (1906–1998), army officer and Arctic explorer, was born on 30 November 1906 at Abbey Cottage, Essex Road, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, the only son and fourth child of the Revd Robert William Croft, curate of Stevenage, and his wife, Lottie Alice Bland Clayton...

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Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier (1796–1848) by unknown photographer, 1845 © National Maritime Museum, London

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Crozier, Francis Rawdon Moira (1796–1848), naval officer and polar explorer, was born on 17 September 1796 at Banbridge, co. Down, Ireland, the son of George Crozier (d. 1831), lawyer. He was the fifth son in the family and had at least two sisters. It seems probable that he was related to ...

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Frank Debenham (1883–1965) by Herbert George Ponting, 1911 © Popperfoto

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J. A. Steers

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Debenham, Frank (1883–1965), geographer and polar scientist, was born at Bowral, New South Wales, on 26 December 1883, the second son of the Revd John Willmott Debenham, vicar of Bowral and schoolmaster, and his wife, Edith Cleveland. He attended the school run by his father and, after his death in 1898, by his mother, and from there went to the ...

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See Enderby family

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Jane Franklin, Lady Franklin (1792–1875) by Amélie Romilly, 1816 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Franklin [née Griffin], Jane, Lady Franklin (1792–1875), traveller and promoter of Arctic exploration, was born in London, the second of the three daughters of John Griffin, a London silk merchant, and his wife, Mary Guillemard, both of Huguenot descent. Her mother died when ...

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Sir John Franklin (1786–1847) by Baird, 1845 © National Maritime Museum, London

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Franklin, Sir John (1786–1847), naval officer and Arctic explorer, was born on 16 April 1786 in Spilsby, Lincolnshire, the ninth of the twelve children of Willingham Franklin (d. 1824), a mercer, and his wife, Hannah Weekes. He had four brothers and seven sisters, and was educated at a preparatory school in ...